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334          MY    COUNTRY    AND    MY    PEOPLE

so many generals leave their arms and ammunition behind
during a defeat, but take care to cart away their store of
opium, for with opium they can get gold, and with gold they
can buy themselves back into power; when the farmers are
compelled to plant opium rather than rice in order to maintain
a rabble and never-paid army; and when a famed agricultural
country is compelled to import millions oftaek of rice and wheat
from abroad every year, and when in the midst of all this
insanity the people, whose interests are immediately affected,
cannot say "no" to their rulers and oppressors. Surely some-
thing is wrong with the body politic, and the nation, as a
nation, must have lost all its moral values and its sense of right
and wrong.

For it is apparent that a system of ideas has collapsed, ideas
moral and ideas political. Old China had a system of govern-
ment and a system of moral ideas which were adequate to
maintain the national life, but which to-day are thrown out of
their bearings and perhaps do more harm than good. Who
would buy patience? Let them come to China, for patience in
this country can be had for the asking. And who would buy
meekness and humility and all those nice Christian herd
virtues that Christendom has not learned after two millen-
niums of praying and psalm-singing and sermonizing? Let
them come to China, for in pagan China these Christian virtues
are as abundant as sands in the desert and as crocodiles in the
Ganges, For a change of tempo has come over the national
life, and instead of the primitive, patriarchal heyday of peace
and leisure and courtesy, we are living in an age of haste and
gold and self-assertion, and all the patience and meekness and
humility that adorned the ancient pattern of life cannot retard,
but rather must hasten, its collapse.

It seems the race cannot adjust itself to a new world, with
healthier, more aggressive people all around and demanding a
new ethics to suit the new tempo of life; and, fearful and angry
with itself* has lost its calm and poise and good sense for which
it was so renowned. It has, it seems only so recently, lost its
ethos and its national self-confidence, and from this loss of self-
confidence it has become freakish, bad-tempered, oversensitive,
and does and says many foolish things, like an unhappy hus-